Wacky Valley


Silicon Valley is buzzing again with 42,000 jobs added last year according to Joint Venture Silicon Valley, and with the average engineering salary topping $100,000, according to Forbes.

One semi CEO told me $100,000 is what they pay to graduate entrants and that his company’s average engineering pay was above $140,000, with engineers earning up to $200,000 base salary.


Valley-based recruitment web-site www.indeed.com offers 12,000 software engineering jobs of which 3,000 carry salaries of over $100k.


CEOs are said to be spotting renewed demand in Q1 which is giving them the confidence to invest in new people and capacity.


One important metric of the Valley’s health – the housing market – is said to be going through the roof.


Another metric, the annual ‘counter-culture’ festival Burning Man has become so popular that it has exceeded its licence to sell 50,000 tickets and is ‘under probation’ for this year’s September event. It has asked to be allowed to sell 70,000 tickets this year.


‘Counter’ cultural seems a misnomer for an event attended by the Valley’s elite. One past attendee, Google’s chairman, earned $100 million last year.


California wackiness lives – Silicon Valley entrepreneur Ken Raasch is offering his Los Gatos house to anyone who’ll give him $29 million worth of pre-IPO Facebook shares.




  1. I’m in the valley on a weekly basis and see a lot more activity than a few years ago. Brocades new palace on the 237, Facebook to double the size of their new campus has kicked house prices in Menlo park up 20% and they don’t even have planning permission yet! There also seems to be an increase in Tier3 / start up activity which is usually a good sign. Based on the companies I work with it seems their is a shortage of hardware / power engineers and companies are paying well over $100K for those. Funny enough everywhere I go I meet lots of ex-pats like myself, as well as many from Italy, Sweden, Asia and India but not so many, what you may call American’s in EE roles. I guess they’re all writing apps for the iPhone….you can’t make a phone call on it so I guess you have to do something with it.

  2. That’s told marginally literate me then 🙂

  3. Does anyone know what Bitter is wittering on about? What is an “analphabet”?

  4. As for Sweden our politically correct government are on top the situation bringing in top talent taxpayers to support our ailing welfare system.
    In order to achieve this, our government’s main focus is bringing analphabets from north Africa to reinforce the very fabric of Swedish society.
    I suppose even the lesser of the “Euro-rejected” engineers would be a blessing over here in comparison to importing this heap of stone age pariah.

  5. @Martijn
    Worst case, EU imports only the “USA rejected” foreigners.

  6. “Hint to European CEOs – if you want the best, pay the best.”
    No no no that’s not the way we do things around here. We complain and blame the government, they should ensure engineers are in oversupply so we don’t have to pay market value for them!!
    Worst case, we import them from Asia.

  7. I always thought the Valley housing market was really the downfall for the area. A bit over a dozen years ago a lot of hardware firms left the area because it just became too expensive, wireless/gadgets ended up in San Diego, RF/microwave in LA and the rest scattered – and at least from a hardware perspective it seems to me that it never recovered. I see nothing happening there except social media and big money operations. Now a lot of those smaller firms are scattered all along the west coast and Utah/Nevada/Arizona. New firms have found other places to spring from and its been a bit of a shot in the arm for places like Boulder and NYC again. There’s even a slight buzz coming from London which I find really freaky. Maybe its time to dip the snout into the VC trough and see what pops up.

  8. It’s possible, Mr C, that high salaries/empty buildings reflect the fact that high value companies often have fewer employees than they did. Facebook paid $1bn for a company with13 employees a couple of weeks ago. I saw some recent speculation that we might soon see billion dollar companies with no employees.

  9. I do find these stories hard to take, whenever I drive through Silican Valley I see empty buildings and For Rent signs.
    I’ve also stopped my annual pilgrimage to Semicon West because nothing seems to happen there.
    Maybe it’s “Apple Dreaming”?

  10. Yes I thought $100k sounded a bit high as well, but the return of $75k+ grad hires (double European levels) shows the US is truly buzzing again. Hint to European CEOs – if you want the best, pay the best.

  11. $100k for a new college hire? Maybe with a Ph.D., and even then, it’s not very likely. (Try $20k south of that.)
    I really don’t think CEOs know how much anyone is getting paid…except for themselves, natch.

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